The story of ginger dates back 5000 years. Ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius celebrated its healing powers and to the Romans it was a strong symbol of wealth and fertility. Ginger root was discovered and cultivated in South Asia before being exported to East Africa and the Caribbean.
There are dozens of claims for its contribution to health, from documented studies to ancient folk medicine. Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting, reduces pain and inflammation, making it valuable in managing arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It has a warming effect and stimulates circulation, and can inhibit rhinovirus, which can cause the common cold. It may also inhibit such bacteria as Salmonella, which cause diarrhea, and protozoa, such as Trichomonas.
In the intestinal tract, it reduces gas and painful spasms, and it may prevent stomach ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Bottom line, if you like the spicy, zingy taste of ginger, work it into your daily routine. Especially as the cold weather creeps in. You can’t go wrong. Enjoy these two easy recipes. Once you get the hang of peeling ginger (I did it with a spoon), boiling those bits in sugar was a snap. The flavor is way more intense than store-bought candied ginger. So intense that you only need one at a time to satisfy your taste buds, unlike handfuls of M&Ms. The ginger lemon water is a warm way to fill your belly each morning and evening and stay hydrated through the dry winter.
Be good to your body and bet on ginger!
4-5 small-medium pieces fresh ginger
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
To candy ginger, peel and thinly slice fresh ginger, then add to a saucepan with equal parts water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Next, drain and place ginger on a plate or other flat surface to dry, preferably overnight but at least 5-6 hours. Lastly, toss in white sugar.
Hot Ginger Lemon Water
1 large lemon (rinsed)
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger (rinsed, peeling optional)
1 dash ground turmeric
1 pinch fresh black pepper (optional)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups boiling water
Bring a kettle of water to a boil (you'll need about 2 cups total). Slice lemon in half and juice each half into a serving mug (each mug gets half of the lemon). Be sure to place the juiced lemon halves in the mugs as well to infuse more flavor. Add sliced ginger and a dash of ground turmeric. Black pepper and cayenne are optional but bring more balance and heat. Black pepper also increases the bioavailability of turmeric. Top with boiling water and wait a few minutes for the flavors to infuse. Best when fresh. Can be enjoyed up to 24 hours later if stored in the refrigerator and reheated. Not freezer friendly. Add-ins could include raw honey or maple syrup, or a bag of your favorite herbal tea, such as chamomile.
-adapted from The Minimalist Baker